There are three ways to get ahead financially: make more, spend less, and invest. Doing all three provides the biggest benefit, and they’ll help you reach your goals. Many people underestimate the importance of investing, even if you start small. Of course, the compounding benefits really add up the earlier you start and the more you invest.
We all make choices that affect our present and future. There are many high-paying jobs available, and I chose not to go into those industries since I always planned on being single and childless, and I don’t need much money to support myself. Many of the high-paying jobs don’t even require degrees. If you’re looking to make a large amount of money, consider various positions in oil refineries and related industries, power plants, chemical plants, manufacturing plants, the medical industry, and the legal industry. If you’re looking to make a decent amount of money, consider construction, government (including military and teaching), investment services, accounting, and the tech industry. Some industries are assumed as low paying, but many servers also make decent wages because of tips when alcohol sales are involved.
I never planned on being an entrepreneur because the financial risk scared me. Since I decided to become self-employed, my expenses have been higher than my income. I’ve been able to survive without credit card debt or other loans since I was always frugal and lived below my means when I was employed by others. However, I would definitely be better off right now if I had been more frugal back then. I wasted too much money on restaurants, bars, clothes, junk food, and some other items.
If you need a little extra money, what side jobs can you do? Since I need to focus on growing my businesses, I try not to choose side jobs that will interfere with my companies. In 2018, I started renting a room in my house. I stopped in 2020 because of the pandemic, but I plan on resuming soon. In 2019, I started selling afghans on Etsy. In 2020, I started a horrible part-time job working remotely at night. I stayed longer than I should have after I realized their demands and damage to my mental health were not worth the little bit of pay.
In 2008, I joined a rewards program where I complete surveys online and redeem points for various gift cards and other items. The reward sponsors have changed over the years, and I previously redeemed stuff I wanted (like restaurants) because stuff I needed wasn’t available. Recently, I’ve been able to redeem gift cards for things I need. In 2022, I started a seasonal job working remotely at night. They have an incentive program involving gift card redemptions. The selection is huge, but I choose places I need instead places I want. This year, I spent almost nothing on lawn supplies, toilet paper, protein powder, and popcorn kernels because I used free gift cards. I also got a few other regular items with the gift cards. Instead of redeeming gift cards for frivolous items and restaurants, I used them for items I would’ve purchased without the gift cards. They are included in my expense tracking since I would’ve made the purchases anyway.
Several years ago, I started decluttering my house and selling or donating items I no longer need or want. I was a bit of a minimalist before I knew what it was, but I definitely have more than I need. I’m making progress on getting items out of my house, but it is much harder to increase outflow than decrease inflow. Avoiding new clutter is easy since I’m trying not to spend money on anything I don’t need. Saying “no” to new free clutter is a little trickier, and I’ve hurt my family’s feelings by declining free items that I don’t need and don’t have space to store.
If you need more money, how can you make more and spend less? How much can you invest to get ahead financially?